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Texas has a major problem with section five of the Voting Rights Act. For those unfamiliar, this is the portion of that law that requires certain states - because of their nefarious actions in the past - to get any voting law alterations pre-approved by the Department of Justice. This law acts as an additional check on states that have proven themselves very good at disenfranchising minority people with laws that might seem neutral on their face. And this makes Texas very sad, because, freedom and stuff. That's why Texas has filed a brief with the Supreme Court calling section five unconstitutional.

Now I want you to meet Texas state representative Debbie Riddle, who has led the charge on this issue. Why is Debbie Riddle important? First, because I plan to do everything in my power to take her out of power in two years. The real reason, though, is that a trip into the twisted mind of Debbie Riddle informs this debate and shows just why things like section five are necessary. I won't parse my words. Debbie Riddle is a demonstrated bigot, an abuser of the English language, and an intellectual embarrassment. Her political identity combines dangerous pseudo-moral platitudes without downright ignorance of both the role of government and good sense. Local and state politics are often ignored, but as we saw with the actions of people like Ohio Secretary of State John Husted this fall, these insignificant people really matter when they try to suppress the vote.

So who is Debbie Riddle, and what's going on down in Texas? Let's go there.

A simple trip to Debbie Riddle's website indicates her interest in a number of issues though we won't stop there. In addition to running on the issues of "illegal immigration," "appraisal caps," "margins tax," and "government spending," Riddle runs on the issue of voter ID. Her website states:

The sovereign right to vote that you and I are guaranteed as citizens of this nation is our most precious freedom, second only to our freedom of religion. This right must be protected through the use of photo identification at the voting place and a requirement that each voter prove upon registration that they are a citizen of the United States.
On its face, her position on the sanctity of voting seems acceptable, even though it displays odd prioritization. When you dig deeper into Debbie Riddle's official social media pages, you'll learn a bit more about the motivations and psychological leanings that power her preoccupation with this "precious freedom."

I will be up front about Debbie Riddle. She is hostile to the poor and to non-white people. This fall, she made national news by telling an American law student to "go live in Afghanistan" and accusing him of being for "them" after reading his very scary Muslim-sounding name. After Riddle posted a status claiming that American soldiers did not need to be "sensitive" to the feelings of Muslims, a predictable storm of response ensued. That's when the above-mentioned student, Abdul Pasha, chimed in to suggest that one commenter should receive sensitivity training so that he could stop acting like a bigot. That's when Riddle responded:

"Get a grip fellow - if you want to be an American act like one and be proud of our country and stand up for our military. If you can't do that then go where people are sensative [sic] enough for you - I guess that would be Afghanistan - where they still live like they are in the Stone Age - but still very sensative [sic],"
The face of a hateful idiot.

To anyone who knows Riddle, it shouldn't be particularly surprising that she doesn't consider someone like Pasha to be a "real" American. When she's not talking about about oppressive voter ID laws, she's busy writing unconstitutional proposals to undermine birthright citizenship. This is where we start to really learn more about this xenophobic government troll. On her public Facebook page, she argued:

Tell me how you feel about "birthright citizenship" - if folks who come to America on a Visa, or possibly are not even here legally and have a baby shoud that baby be an American Citizen. That has been the ruling of the court for many years but many think it should change. Personally, I think that citizenship is of great value and should not be handed out to anyone who is in America as a visitor or is here illegally and has a baby - and that baby become a citizen automatically. If a child is born here under those circumstances then they can do what is necessary to become a citizen. If someone goes to Mexico, China, or Saudi and has a baby that child does NOT become a citizen of those countries. What is wrong with us? What do you think?
When two of the three countries that you want to emulate on policy are "Saudi" and China, you're doing something wrong, but I digress. In the ensuing debate, she reverted to an old tactic, the "go to scary country X" routine that made her so famous this fall:
Jon Seale - it is your far left stupid ideas that have gotten us in this mess - please move to Cuba or someplace where you will be happy with the government taking all your money and giving it to others. And don try to pull your twisted religious stuff on us - will not work - Jesus talked about how people - not governments - should give to those in need. The Bible also says that if a man does not work he should not eat. The Bible says much about the value of people working. So Jon your cute game won't work with me or most hard working - thinking Americans.
One of Debbie Riddle's most curious qualities is her uncanny focus, as a state-level rep, on issues of national security. In September, she wrote:
As the U.S. Marines say "no better friend - no worse enemy" we must get that message out to folks around the world. We are America - we must stop being the door-mat for the world. And yes, Mr. President - stop sending our hard earned money to people that hate us and want us dead.
Through all of this, we learn something very real about her mindset and how she views the "other." Her efforts on voter ID are a part of a bigger plan to disenfranchise those people not like her. Especially in a state like Texas, where the Latino population continues to grow, the existence of empowered non-whites presents a major political problem. If she can't have kids born in the United States stripped of their citizenship, she will work to undermine the good work done by section five of the Voting Rights Act.

No expose on Debbie Riddle would be complete without a mention of the efforts that have long motivated her political mind - the exploitation, for political purposes, of the poor in the state of Texas. You see, she led the charge on Texas's version of he insidious and unconstitutional drug testing laws for people on government aid. Riddle even suggested that it would be a good idea to drug test people on food stamps because, apparently, there is no wiser way to deal with drug-addicted poor people than by depriving them of their only legal access to live-sustaining sustenance.

So what Does Debbie Riddle have to actually say about voter ID laws? What is her admitted motivation for this crusade:

The DOJ is attempting to stop our implementing our Voter Photo ID law. They call it an attempt to suppress the vote of minorities. However, I would say that allowing voter fraud is suppressing the votes of citizens of every color. With every vote cast that is not lawful the vote of a citizen is stolen. That is real voter suppression. Once again Texas must stand tall and fight - this Obama administration has got to go!
Monday our Texas Voter Photo ID law that was passed by the Texas Legislature will be in Federal Court in Washington D.C. One of the "expert witnesesses" Eric Holder is using against us in a private company called Catalist. They are a far left group with far left clients that include the Re-elect Obama Campaign! This is a group that makes their money from their radical agenda and they are being used as an expert witness aganist us here in Texas??!! This is an outrage! I will keep the updates of this on this FB page. Stay tuned and pray for our state and nation!
In order to vote in Mexico one must not only show ID they must give a thumb print. We understand why the Obama administration is in such opposition to our Voter Photo ID laws - it makes it difficult for dead people to vote & more difficult for folks like ACORN to do their dirty work. For Eric Holder to send his attorneys to Texas to depose legislators like me because we worked hard to pass our Voter Photo ID bill in Texas is an insult to ALL freedom loving Americans & an insult to our soldiers who fight & are willing to die for those freedoms. Pulling the race card on this issue is a worn out old trick & personally I am sick & tired of the race card being pulled every time they can't win an argument with good judgement & the truth.
(emphasis mine)

Debbie Riddle really cannot help herself. Initially I was outraged because the people in charge of shaping important election policy can't spell words like "against" and "witnesses," but that grammatically-driven complaint abated when I dug into the small-minded bigotry that powers her mindset. Riddle makes clear reference to "them," a reference to either democrats or brown people. She makes no bones about turning what should be a non-partisan issue - voting rights - into a political bastard child.

Why is Debbie Riddle important? Because, unfortunately, she is among the people who gets to decide who votes and who does not. Among her legislative accomplishments are an unconstitutional law that allows the death penalty for rapists, a bill adding "Under God" to the Texas pledge, a homocide-inducing "Castle Doctrine" bill that allows for lethal force that George Zimmerman could appreciate, and a bill defining marriage as between a woman and man in the state of Texas. There's nothing the federal government can do about her undoing decades of American progress with those legislative efforts, but the federal government can do something about her efforts to return Texas voter rolls to something resembling 1950.

Debbie Riddle is a perfect example of why section five of the Voting Rights Act is still necessary. Many of the laws and regulations in our country do not reflect reality. They are laws that, on their face, do not discriminate or lead to negative consequences. This is a law that takes into account the reality that we face in places like Texas - that is, lawmakers like Debbie Riddle are in charge of who gets to vote. And as long as lawmakers like Debbie Riddle - who has, in one year, told two American citizens to go to Cuba and Afghanistan respectively - are making policy on who can vote, even facially neutral laws will be designed to disenfranchise the exact people who Riddle and her ilk forcefully and openly hate.

Don't close your eyes on voter ID laws, folks. Chances are good that the Court will slap down this attempt by Texas. Section five of the Voting Rights Law will probably protect the citizens of Texas from Debbie Riddle. But there's a Debbie Riddle lurking in other states, and many of those states do not have to get pre-approval from the DOJ on their particular voting laws. It's important to know the political enemy. Debbie Riddle and her ilk are openly hostile to minorities, the poor, and the fundamentals of equal protection. Over the next two years, I will do everything in my power to rid Harris County of Debbie Riddle. But she is not working alone, and that is why we must continue to be vigilant.

Originally posted to Coby DuBose on Criminal Injustice, Race, and Poverty on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 06:36 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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